“We want your brain to hurt afterward,” says Creative Coast Executive Director Jake Hodesh simply.
Indeed, as those who’ve experienced the event know, spending the day at TEDx can be a mind–blowing experience.
Savannah’s third annual TEDx Creative Coast happens this Friday at the Jepson Center for the Arts. Connect Savannah is proud to be the media sponsor.
And while the event itself is now sold out, you can watch it live online for free by going to our website at connectsavannah.com or tedxcreativecoast.com.
“That’s part of the whole philosophy behind TED,” says Hodesh. “The presentations have to be made available for free to the widest possible audience.”
For those who don’t know: TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design and is a worldwide series of conferences owned by the nonprofit Sapling Foundation, whose mission statement is to disseminate “ideas worth spreading.”
A TEDx event is simply a TED event put on by a third party licensed to do so.
At a typical day–long TEDx event, speakers have no more than 18 minutes to give a tight, dynamic presentation on their stated topic. Live talks are broken up by short videos approved by the TED organization.
The goal is to stimulate creative thought in a practical manner which will stay with attendees long after the event itself, prompting them to bring real change into their workspace and home life — the brain pain Hodesh mentions.
But one of the keys to TEDx isn’t just the presentations, but the spaces between them.
“We have a series of what I call ‘forced breaks’ throughout the day,” Hodesh says. “We sort of funnel people into a common area to give them a chance to talk about what they’ve just heard and forge an immediate sense of community about the whole experience.”
While one might be tempted to call it networking — there’s nothing to prevent people from handing out business cards – the idea is for people to come together and talk about what they’ve just seen and heard.
And maybe, add some creative interpretations of their own.
A local TEDx is sort of a franchise opportunity. And like any franchise, there are strict rules. For example, overtly religious or political messages are a no–go.
And despite the fact that many TEDx presenters tend to be entrepreneurs and CEO types, blatant commercialism is kept to an absolute minimum.
“This isn’t a situation where an author will give a presentation and later you see them at a table signing books,” says Hodesh.
That said, local TEDx license–holders do have latitude in the theme of the event, in addition to picking presenters.
In the case of TEDx Creative Coast, Hodesh and the selection committee didn’t go with a subject or topic per se, but rather wanted to show the diverse range of dynamic thought going on in this area.
“Our goal is really to shine a light on the creative thinkers we have locally,” he says.
Despite this third edition of TEDx bearing his organization’s name, Hodesh says it doesn’t necessarily signal a desire to make it a long–term commitment for the group.
“I actually look forward to the day when enough momentum has been created in the community for someone else to be really well–equipped to take the TEDx ball and run with it,” Hodesh says.
This week we preview TEDx Creative Coast with a few highlighted interviews, one from me with the dual presenter team of Andrew Davies and Jaime McGrath, and two by Jessica Leigh Lebos, with Beth Mount and Cat Compton.
Our intent wasn’t to get presenters to give away their presentations ahead of the actual TEDx, but rather to give a taste of what’s to come this Friday — a small hint of the brain hurtin’ to come.